In their book Launching Missional Communities, Breen and Absalom point out that
Jesus had three great loves and thus three distinct dimensions to his life.
UP: deep and connected relationship to his Father and attentiveness to the leading of the Holy Spirit
IN: constant investment in the relationships with those around him (his disciples)
OUT: entering the brokenness of the world, looking for a response individually (people coming into relationship with Jesus) and systemically (systems of injustice being transformed).
This three dimensional pattern for living a balanced life is evident throughout Scripture and needs to be expressed in community life as well. Because of this we believe missional communities need a balanced expression of UP-IN-OUT in order to be healthy, growing communities.
Now that’s some pretty good stuff. First of all, its biblical. Second of all its not properly balanced in many churches today. I asked that question in an earlier post when I asked what the balance in your congregation was between IN and OUT. It would have been better if I had included UP as well. Obviously some things have overlap but we do need to make sure that we are providing specific environments or activities that foster each of those three components of Jesus’ ministry within our churches.
I have to say that I am very excited about our young people and the prospects for the church over the next 20 years. Some things worry me just a bit but overall I think some really good things are underfoot. Much of this is happening because people are really seeking out God and to really make a difference in the world. That means more of our young people are getting focused on OUT and UP and less on IN. That is a good and healthy move as many churches today have been doing the IN thing very well for many, many years almost to the exclusion of the other two. My point is, I hope we are getting closer to achieving balance of the biblical principles of ministry and can really live out the mission that is outside the Sunday morning walls.
I appreciate the balance that this book tries to bring into the discussion to get people to start thinking more in terms of UP, IN and OUT.